To promote this attitude various devices have been adopted by business firms. Some try to put a real responsibility on each employee and to make him feel it. Others have devised forms of partnership which give numerous employees shares in the business and so help to develop this attitude.

In developing men for responsible positions this attitude must be secured and retained even while they are occupying the lesser positions.

_Few things so stimulate a boy as the feeling that he is responsible for a certain task, that he is expressing himself in it, that he is creating something worth while_.

Many managers and more foremen are unable to develop this feeling in their subordinates because they assume all the responsibility and allow those under them no share of it. On the other hand, some executives have the happy faculty of inspiring this attitude in all their men. The late Marshall Field made partners of his lieutenants and encouraged them to assume responsibility and to do

creative work. As a result they developed a love of the game--a fact to which he owed much of his phenomenal success.

The second condition or factor in the development of the love of the game in business is social prestige.

We have but partially expressed the nature of man when we have spoken of him as delighting in independent self-expression, as being self-centered and self-seeking. Man is inherently social in his nature and desires nothing more than the approval of his fellows. That which society approves we do with enthusiasm. We change our forms of amusements, our manner of life, and our daily occupations according to the whims of society. Fifteen years ago the riding of bicycles was quite the proper thing, and we all trained down till we could ride a century. To-day we are equally enthusiastic in lowering bogy on the golf course. This change in our ambitions is not because it is inherently more fun to beat bogy than to ride a century. The change has come about simply because of the change of

social prestige secured from the two forms of amusement.

We may expect to find enthusiastic industry in the accomplishment of any task which society looks upon as particularly worthy. During the past few decades in America society has given the capitalist unusual honor and has allowed him monetary rewards unprecedented in the history of the world.

If the capitalist had been honored less than the poet, the preacher, or the soldier, and his material rewards fallen below theirs, our money captains would have been fewer in number.

In spite of occasional muck rakings, society's esteem for the capitalist has been unbounded. He is in general the only man with a national reputation. Society bestows upon him unstinted praise and the most generous rewards for his toil. His rewards are so extravagant that the game seems worthy of every effort he can put forth. Love of the game has consequently been engendered within him, and his enthusiasm has been unbounded.

This motive of social prestige is less easy of application to the humbler ranks of employees.

Most men engaged in the industries are entirely deprived of the stimulus because their social group does not look with approval upon their daily tasks. It may even despise men for doing well work essential as preparatory to better positions. There are many young men engaged in perfectly worthy employment who prefer that their social set should not know of the exact nature of their work for fear it would be regarded as menial and not sufficiently ``swell.''

This disrespect for honest toil is due to various causes. One cause is that nearly all young men--and indeed most older men too--look upon their present positions merely as stepping stones. They look forward to promotion and more interesting work. They and their social group fail to accord dignity to the work which they are doing at any time.

Another reason why the motive of social prestige has no effect in the more humble

positions is that in business we have practically abandoned the standard of the artist and adopted that of the capitalist.

Increasing Efficiency in Business Page 49

Business Books

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Business Ebooks
Classic Literature

All Pages of This Book